Captain Crew, acrylic on canvas, 2008

If there’s one thing I miss about running the gallery – besides all the brie, baguette and wine – it is of course all the new artists I got to meet, work with, and enjoy the work of. It has been a severe drought since November of 2006 when we shut the PR1MARY doors. Today I got that rush again.

I spotted the work of Luke Butler on my friend Marci Washington‘s Flickr account. Marci and Luke are both seeking their MFAs from CCA (California College of the Arts), and had open studios recently. The painting above, Captain Crew was among the work shown.

What a great representation of an abstract but certainly familiar fixture of Star Trek — the incapacitated crew. It’s one of my favorite subjects in painting, the re-purposed [pop] cultural iconography. Like Damien Loeb’s paintings of the HAL-9000 D-Gama (screens), this painting repositions an element of classic science fiction, as an abstract artistic statement. While I’m not sure of Mr. Butler’s exact purpose here, I find the image of the crew lying either unconscious or dead in a limitless space extremely provocative. The average Star Trek fan might want an image of Kirk or the Enterprise in action, but this more somber image appeals to both the sci fi kid in me, and the adult who’s attracted to the underside of familiarity.

Be sure to check out both Luke and my friend Marci as soon as you have a chance. For good measure, stop by Deth‘s as well.

One more for depth.

The End, transfer letters on paper, 2007

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